I’m in a fight with my dog. He’s a great dog, don’t get me wrong, but he is ruining my sofa. He is not allowed on the furniture and he has his own perfectly wonderful dog beds both upstairs and down, but he is determined to do what he wants when we’re not home. As soon as we leave, he thinks he’s the king of the castle. Literally….before I get to the end of the street, I have proof that he’s getting on the couch.
This is not a lap dog we’re talking about. He’s a 70 pound Golden Retriever with enough hair to cover two or three whole dogs. If you sit on the couch he likes, you’ll be wearing half a dog when you stand up. He is partial to one end of the preferred sofa so that he can look out the window. (Never mind that we have a house full of big windows that he can see out of from the floor.) The cushions on that end of the sofa are starting to sag from his daily ritual. The throw pillows get knocked to the floor constantly and they are starting to show wear as well from where he smashes them down and his toenails get hooked on the embroidered fabric.
I decided to attack this from several angles to change his behavior. First, I bought him a new, super soft bed. Then I tied his favorite toy to it and filled the toy with peanut butter. He promptly chewed the rope in half and took the Kong somewhere else to clean it out. Then I started training him to go to his bed by offering treats every time he did what I asked.
Next, I made the sofa off limits by placing a large piece of aluminum foil over it when I was leaving. (It really does work—thanks, Pinterest!) Unfortunately, he just decided to get on the sofa in the other room. When I realized what he was doing, I put foil on that sofa too. And just for good measure, I added it to my favorite chair in case he got any bright ideas about that. When I left the next time, he got on an antique chair that is so small I don’t even know how he fit. Lesson learned, I covered it in foil too. The next time I left, he got on the ottoman. Grrrrrrrr! Now that I’d used an entire roll of aluminum foil and every piece of furniture had foil on it, I thought he’d finally get the idea that he needs to relocate to the floor or his new bed. That’s a big resounding, “Nope.” The first time I neglected to leave the foil out, he was right back at it again.
I decided the only answer was to get a camera and correct him from wherever I am. I ordered a motion sensitive baby that dings my phone when there’s movement and allows me to talk through it. He was a little surprised to hear me yell, “Get off that couch!” when I wasn’t even home. We’re still in this battle. He’s not doing it as often, but it certainly isn’t over yet. (In fact, if you hear a crazy woman yelling into her phone in the aisle at Kroger, that’s probably me.)
Maybe you’ve got a behavior problem you’re dealing with. I’m not suggesting that your kids are anything like my dog, but there might be something to learn here anyway. Parenting isn’t something that goes by the book. Each child and family is different and has its own set of challenges. My point is about perseverance. Keep trying new methods until you find something that works. Is your bedtime routine leaving you exhausted and you don’t know how to right the ship? Does the mess in your child’s room or playroom make you want to pull all your hair out? Whatever those frustrations are, just try something. And if it doesn’t work….try something else. We all have areas that could be better and taking a step in the right direction is always good. Just keep taking those steps until you reach the destination.
As for me and the dog—I’ll guarantee you that I’m going to win this fight. I have a few ideas up my sleeve if this camera doesn’t do the trick. I’ll let you know how it works out.
Hi! I'm Janet and I've been the Director of the Before and After School and Smart Start Preschool Programs at the Troy Rec since 1994. My hubby and I have been married 30 years and we have two grown sons. Each of them is married and blessing us with grandchildren left and right. Life is good even when the nest is empty!